x
Breaking News
More () »

You may qualify for free or low-cost health insurance

If at any point during 2021 you were unemployed, you may qualify for a free comprehensive insurance plan.

INDIANAPOLIS — You may qualify for free or much cheaper health insurance because of the American Rescue Plan signed in March.

More Subsidies, Lower Premiums

The American Rescue Plan lowers premiums for some people who get their plan through Marketplace, or the Affordable Care Act exchanges.

Liz Weston, a personal finance expert with NerdWallet, said if you have not shopped your plan recently, shop it again.

"You can be a single person making almost $77,000 a year, or a family of four making $157,000 a year and still get some subsidies," Weston said.

Open enrollment is taking place right now and ends on August 15.

Unemployment

If at any point during 2021 you were unemployed, you may qualify for a free comprehensive insurance plan.

"That's if you can't get coverage elsewhere. If you don't have another job, or your spouse doesn't have coverage, you can qualify for this," Weston said.

Weston added that it is taking the health care exchanges some time to set this up, and it might not be fully online until July.

You can also contact a Marketplace broker with questions.

COBRA Premiums

Employers will pay your COBRA premiums from April 1 until September 30 if your hours were greatly reduced, or you were involuntarily terminated.

However, if that termination was for gross misconduct, you are not eligible.

COBRA lets you keep your former employer's health insurance for a period of time. Usually, it is the person continuing the coverage who is picking up the employer's portion of the tab plus a 2% fee.

"If you're within 18 months of losing your job, you could still get at least a month or two or maybe even six of your COBRA coverage just paid for by your employer," Weston said.

The employer is later provided with tax credits to offset the cost.

If you believe that you qualify for free COBRA coverage, contact your previous employer for details.

More information about COBRA premium assistance can be found on the Department of Labor's website

If the employer cannot help, contact the Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration.